Cost of Living Fish and Chips
Fish and chips still remains the favorite take away meal in the UK despite fierce competition. The exact origins are unknown but it has been established that chips arrived from France during the 18th Century. There was also mention of fried fish and bread in ‘Oliver Twist’ by Dickens, published in the 1830s. The Oxford English Dictionary claims the earliest usage of “chips” in this sense was in Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities (published in 1859). Fish and chips became standard fare among the working classes in Great Britain due to the efficiency of trawl fishing in the North Sea, and the development of railways which allowed fresh fish to be rapidly transported to the heavily populated areas from the ports. The modern fish-and-chip shop (“chippy” or “chipper” in modern British slang) originated in the United Kingdom, although outlets selling fried food occurred commonly throughout Europe. According to one story, fried-potato shops spreading south from Scotland merged with fried-fish shops spreading from southern England. Eventually they came together with the opening of the first fish and chip shop around 1860. Growth in the number of shops was rapid, peaking in the 1930s at around 35,000 shops in the UK.
Fish and chips used to be thought of as cheap, as well as convenient, but sadly that is no longer the case.
That tasty portion that would have cost 25p in 1970 is now around £3.30 on average, although you can pay as little as £2.50 in some parts of the country. The worse price rises came in the 1970s, taking the average price of a portion of fish and chips to 83p by 1980. Inflation has remained low during the 21st century, but fish and chips prices are still rising.
Fish and chips is popular in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and regions of the United States. It consists of deep-fried battered fish served with deep-fried potato wedges (i.e. chips or fries). As a staple in the U.K., chips were one of the few foods that weren’t rationed during WW II.
The number of fish and chip shops has declined over the years as other take-away shops have gained in popularity and currently there are just 11,000 fish and chip shops in the U.K.
Cost of Living Increases
The cost of a portion of fish and chips more than tripled from 25p in 1970 to 83p in 1980. From there it doubled to £1.68 in the 1990’s. From the 1990’s to the 2000’s the cost of fish and chips “only” increased by 45% to £2.43. And the average price of a single serving of Fish and Chips in the U.K. is currently £3.30 a 35.8% increase in price over the last decade. However, in London the average cost of a portion of fish and chips is £5.00.
The most popular fish for fish and chips is Cod, followed by Haddock and then Sake or Huss.
The British generally prefer salt and vinegar on their fish and chips, while Americans prefer Tomato Ketchup and people on the continent tend to prefer Mayonnaise.
Thanks to Bainst and Ernst for the infographic.
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In lancs fish chips curry sauce range from 4.80 to 6.20 and also the quality varies a lot
Bought a small cod and chips today in Surrey, £8 (without a drink). Yes, it’s a lot, but compared to most other options (aside from the big chain fast food outlets such as maccy ds or KFC) it’s the best value. Chinese & Indian would be at least £12 here, as would a pizza.
If a family of say just 4 had fish and chips today it would therefore cost a staggering £32! A persons state pension is typically £20 per day for all costs of living whatever they may be. I just don’t understand the price of things any more. We are losing our senses in the eagerness to have to earn more and more money because prices go up and up. They do not need to. Inflation is our own doing and it serves only to reduce the impact of debt. Well, let’s not get into debt , eh!
Rob m says
In east midlands family of 4 fish n chips with curry sauce & peas £22
Mintas Lanxor says
If you indulge in too many chips, you’re likely to cash in your chips sooner than most. 🙂
Neil McCormick says
A new chippie recently opened here in Perth Scotland, price of a fish supper is an extortionate £8
When I was a kid, back in the late ’70s you could get a portion of chips for six pence at the local fish and chip shop.
I was working in a chippie in Feb 1971 (decimalisation day!) and at that time cod and chips were 1/6, converted at decimalisation to 7.5 pence. I totally disagree with the prices quoted in this article. But within a year of decimalisation, the prices had almost doubled, so the chips which were 2.5 pence (6d in old money) pre decimalisation were 5p ( a shilling) just a year later.
Marie Cadavieco says
Quite agree. I was working in a chippie at decimalisation (D-Day 15th Feb 1971) and cod and chips were 1/6 in old money, converted to 7.5 pence after D-Day. Chips were 6d (2.5p) but within a year or two they were up to 5p and continued to rise through the 70s. The figure of 25p quoted for 1970 is utter nonsense, 25p is 5 shillings! Ridiculous. My weekly income in 1970 was £3 15s 6d. And I managed alright, with a 5 year old son.
Graham Pollard says
Hello TIM, With Britain set to leave the EU the topic of fish prices comes up in conversation. Is there data on the price of fish and chips from before Britain joined the EU and today and wether those prices have outstripped inflation and by how much.
pam Thompson-Clarke-Reynolds-Bowers-Burton says
I decided to treatmyself last night. Cod, chips and curry sauce was £6.80. That’s beyond most people’s budgets I suspect and I certainly won’t be buying again.
Lol J says
Tenner on the Isle of Man currently. From a mobile chippy. And they taste dreadful. In West Yorkshire when I was a kid,(1974),it was 15p for a ton of chips and a beautifully cooked piece of fresh haddock.